In a recent study, alginate and its sulphated derivatives were found to cure the causes of arthritis because of their antioxidant and immune-modulation properties.
Cartilage is the protective tissue present at joints to lubricate them. With age, this tissue starts to degenerate due to wear and tear causing oxidative stress. Eventually, bones start to rub against each other, causing severe pain and inflammation. Present treatments focus only on relieving pain and inflammation. If pain was unmanageable, the last option was to replace the affected joints with an artificial joint by surgery.
Sulphated alginates were found to suppress oxidative stress, which is the main reason for cell damage and degeneration. More the degree of sulphation, greater the antioxidant property of the alginate was observed.
They were found to have anti-inflammatory properties as well. They were able to down-regulate the gene expression causing pro-inflammatory markers both in Chondrocytes and in Macrophages.
Alginates when sulphated can halt the tissue degeneration in vitro. Next step is to conduct experiments on animals and followed by viable clinical trials. If the trails are successful, then alginate can be used in humans to suppress cartilage degeneration in treating arthritis. More research should be on and be done in the way to completely stop the degeneration of the articular cartilage as an ultimate cure to arthritis.